Despite facing economic challenges, import restrictions, and volatile currencies in key markets like Nigeria, smartphone shipments in Nigeria and other parts of Africa experienced a 12 percent annual growth in Q3 2023. According to Canalys, a global research firm, a total of 17.9 million units of smartphones were shipped to the African continent at the time of review. Canalys, on the other hand, unveiled that there was a one percent decrease in the global smartphone market during that specific timeframe. According to the report, TRANSSION, a group consisting of Tecno, Infinix, and iTel brands, continues to excel in the mobile industry by experiencing significant annual growth of 9 percent.
With this, they maintain a leading position with a remarkable 48 percent market share. The report also recorded that TRANSSION is making strategic moves to expand its presence, particularly in emerging markets. However, their focus is set on offering competitively priced devices below $100, aiming to capture a wider customer base. It was also revealed that Samsung, on the other hand, maintained second place in the market with a considerable 26 percent market share after facing a significant setback of a 13 percent decline caused by difficulties encountered in their mid-to-high-end devices.
The need for affordable devices is necessary for prepaid customer base.
Additionally, the report also shows that Xiaomi and OPPO experienced a remarkable comeback by achieving incredible yearly growth rates of 100% and 259%, respectively. The success of these brands can be attributed to substantial investments, notably in the Egyptian market, which significantly contributed to their positive Q3 performance. Mr. Manish Pravinkumar, a Senior Consultant at Canalys, explained that the African market has displayed impressive resilience in supply and demand despite macroeconomic obstacles. Further speaking, he also explained that South Africa exhibited an impressive 20% expansion in their smartphone market despite the rapid depreciation of their currency. He also validated that the primary driving force behind this surge was the increasing need for affordable devices that are specifically designed for the extensive pre-paid consumer base.
On the other hand, there has been an increased demand for mid-range devices, primarily due to the prevalence of power outages leading individuals to prioritise smartphones equipped with high-quality screens and long-lasting battery performance for entertainment purposes. However, TRANSSION and Xiaomi have also contributed to the remarkable growth of Nigeria’s smartphone industry. While TRANSSION focused on affordable smartphones, Xiaomi managed to establish itself as a desirable brand among consumers. The Redmi series A2, Note 12 4G, 12, and 12C were some of Xiaomi’s products that gained massive popularity in the market.
Financial options have been considered to improve accessibility.
It was also reported that Xiaomi accomplished a triumphant approach in North African nations like Egypt and Morocco, as their smartphone shipments experienced a remarkable double-digit growth rate of 19 percent which indicates that the vendors adeptly overcame the obstacles posed by strict import restrictions from the previous year. Nevertheless, Canalys predicts a restrained expansion in the region despite witnessing substantial growth in the third quarter of 2023. The forecast for 2024 suggests a more modest single-digit growth expectation.
However, Currency devaluation, heightened import tariffs, and government policies favouring domestic manufacturing have become obstacles for channel partners and vendors. These challenges have the potential to cause an increase in costs and prices. On the contrary, the introduction of device financing options by operators and channel partners can considerably improve accessibility and drive up adoption rates. Over the upcoming years, they expect to see a stabilisation in the demand for 2G technology, whereas 4G and 5G are set to experience a significant surge in their development.
Tech brands have experienced a remarkable expansion in Africa.
Similarly, Canalys report in 2018 unveiled that Samsung shipments made a significant surge of 42%, totalling 34 million units, compared to the previous year’s 24 million, while Tecno secured the second position with 28 million units, itel with 20 million, Huawei attained the fourth position with 11 million units, while Infinix came in fifth with a shipment of 1.0 million units. Moreover, Samsung appears to be leading. It is noteworthy that Tecno, itel, and Infinix are essentially three branches of the same company called TRANSSION. TRANSSION emerges triumphantly at the market’s pinnacle, having shipped an impressive 58 million units. Tech brands like Tecno and Infinix have experienced remarkable expansion across both Western and Eastern Africa in recent years, primarily attributed to the pioneering presence of their parent company in the market.